Delmustator said:Motorcyclist dies on Dragon
by Jessica Stith
of The Daily Times Staff
A Maryland man died in a motorcycle crash Thursday while riding the curves of the Dragon.
The Dragon is an 11-mile meandering section of U.S. 129 between Tab Cat Creek and the North Carolina state line. This is the first fatality on the Dragon in 2006.
Kelly Brown, 39, of Forestville, Md., was driving his Yamaha motorcycle northbound on U.S. 129 heading down the mountain at 10:30 a.m. He was negotiating a curve about 3Â½ miles from the North Carolina line, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Lowell Russell.
Brown traveled off the right side of the road onto the shoulder then came back onto road and veered off the left shoulder, Russell said.
Brown's motorcycle then went airborne off the left shoulder, hit a tree and then came to rest at the bottom of the tree that was rooted on a steep embankment.
According to Russell, Brown was dead when emergency medical responders arrived on the scene. His body was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service.
Russell said Brown, who was wearing a helmet, had a motorcyclist riding with him who had stopped ahead to let Brown catch up. When Brown did not show up, the motorcyclist went back to check on him.
Two other motorcyclists were driving through the winding curves when they saw smoke coming from the steep embankment. The two stopped to see if something was on fire and found Brown, Russell said. The motorcyclist riding with Brown then arrived to find the accident.
Brown was visiting from Maryland to join the Yamaha R1/R6 Forums East Coast Convention. Other motorcyclists traveling the Dragon said Brown had just arrived on Wednesday for the convention that started Monday and ends Saturday.
Motorcyclists from all over the country who are participating in the convention are lodging at the Fontana Village Resort at Fontana Dam, N.C.
This was not the only accident that has occurred at the site of Brown's crash. A tree directly beside the tree that Brown hit held a picture of a motorcyclist who had previously died in an accident at that site, and a cross was carved into the tree below the picture.
There were 19 fatalities in 2005 in Blount County, and three of them occurred on the Dragon. Brown's accident is the eighth fatality in 2006 and the first to occur on the Dragon.
Tennessee Highway Patrol, Blount County Sheriff's deputies, Rural/Metro Ambulance Service, seven Blount County firefighters and four members of the Blount County Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to assist with the accident.
The involvement of drugs or alcohol was not suspected, but mandatory testing is being done, Russell said.